What are dApps, and How Can They Improve Services?
Decentralized services are evolving to keep up with regular (centralized) platforms and provide better services
The vast majority of the services we use nowadays have a centralized architecture. Centralized apps have their resources localized. For instance, a simple website is hosted on a server (computer) that is working at some facility nonstop to provide that website when someone accesses. However, if that server fails, you cannot access the website until the issue is solved.
That is not the case in the distributed counterpart, which has several nodes (computers) that create the network on top of which the dApps are built. Although decentralized ecosystems bring some advantages over regular platforms, they are not perfect. Currently, dApps are dragging a lot of attention thanks to the blockchain uses. In this article, we review the pros and cons of dApps.
What is a dApp?
A decentralized application, shortened as dApp or DApp, is a software that runs on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network applying consensus within the nodes to validate changes.
Unlike centralized applications, dApps allow the interconnection of developers and users directly. Each computer connected to the network serves as a node, i.e., a machine that works as a server for the backend of the application. Thus, the main difference in comparison with centralized models is the sheer number, hundreds or thousands, of devices contributing to the network.
Therefore, downtimes are a thing of the past with dApps. Since one server is no longer responsible for providing the data, it is unfeasible to take down a decentralized app. Moreover, the main features of dApps are the following:
- Open Source. Provided that the code of a dApp is approved in consensus by the members of the network, the source must be available for review. On the contrary, regular apps’ source code is usually kept private and out of reach by the users.
- Decentralized Consensus. Before cryptocurrencies were developed, the only method of validation available was through a central authority. In a decentralized scheme, most nodes have to approve each transaction to make it valid. Contributors get tokens in return.
- No Central Authority. Whenever a node in a P2P network fails, only such devices stop working. Therefore, the rest of the system remains operative, and users do not see the disruption. In a centralized architecture, server failure means no service.
- Integrated Payments. There is seamless integration with cryptocurrency payments by default. dApps based on the blockchain serve of its network to send and receive crypto, such as the Ethereum blockchain — the most popular platform for dApps. In the Woonkly platform, you can make use of our native token, WOONK, to use services.
What are dApps Better For?
Every system has its pros and cons. The decentralization scheme comes handy to bypass some issues of centralized platforms naturally. The main advantages of dApps are the following:
- Fault-Tolerant. It is impossible to have a dApp down due to node failure. Moreover, a hacker cannot vulnerate enough nodes to take control over the consensus due to cryptography — it takes too much time and computing resources.
- Internet Censorship Prevention. In relation to the previous feature, no entity can govern a dApp due to the nature of decentralization. The service does not depend on a single IP. Thus a distributed network cannot be censored by an authority.
- Increased Trust on the System. Users can be more confident with a dApp because their data is not prone to be manipulated. This is why sometimes dApps are described as “trustless” because you already know how your data will be used beforehand.
Of course, dApps introduce new inconveniences to the game. For instance, the blockchain data packs that contain all the transactions of Bitcoin increase in size progressively. Moreover, not only dApps are memory-consuming but making updates propagate rather tricky.
Inconveniences of dApps
It is essential to understand what challenges we face whenever we implement or use a decentralized app. Let us review what the main drawbacks of dApps are:
- Fixing bugs is not easy. When you publish an update, you need to distribute updates to each device in the network. That is, not only one server should be updated, but every version of the dApps needs to be in sync to make use of a newer version.
- KYC is not easy. In centralized apps, KYC is often under the surveillance of one entity. Thus, the process is organized accordingly, but complications arise when you perform the decentralized counterpart. Different approaches are possible to solve this issue, like having a hybrid centralized and decentralized ecosystem.
- Complex to scale. Scalability is another challenge for dApps due to the complications with protocols used in making the software run distributed. Basically, it would be helpful if you planned in advance to make it possible for your dApp to grow enough while serving users correctly.
- Undervolved Third-Party dApps. Imagine that your app needs a delivery system, but that is not your niche. In centralized apps, you may use APIs to integrate the service seamlessly. Unfortunately, this is not — always — the case with decentralized apps. Due to dApss immaturity, in most cases, you need to create each service, which demands more resources.
All that glitters is not gold.
There are other concerns to keep in mind when planning the development of a dApps:
- Fixing bugs is resource-intense and time-consuming.
- You may need to build a KYC solution for your dApp.
- No third-party APIs means you are alone in the dark.
The main reason why many projects fail to deliver an excellent product is the lack of experience. Making dApps is a challenge, and developers are still learning how to make all pieces click.
The Future of dApps
So, if dApps overcomplicate some aspects of digital services, is it worth all the hassle?
New technologies are a challenge until they become consolidated in the industry. There are many such examples in nowadays industries, to name a few: VR goggles, curved mobile screens, etc. As time passes and more research is done, one out of two may happen: a) the new technology becomes mainstream when improved, b) it goes to oblivion. But, there is no way to know if there is not a serious attempt to make it work.
dApps are still a very new development. More is to be achieved to make them “attempt” to become mainstream. However, signs are promising. Humankind is more intertwined than in the past. Digital services are essential in our society and make us more efficient in general. Therefore, we may witness a brilliant evolution of the sector until we achieve true decentralization.
Woonkly wants to be in the vanguard of decentralized streaming services. Learn more here.
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